Don Juan Tenorio: A Religious-Fantasy Drama in Two Parts.
A New Verse Translation by David Arbesú
When José Zorrilla completed Don Juan Tenorio in 1844 little did he know that he had just written what would become the most popular Spanish play of all time. While the opening performance was a modest one, Zorrilla’s interpretation of the legendary Don Juan myth was so well-liked by the public that, in a very short time, its success was overwhelming. Shortly after, Don Juan Tenorio became not only the most popular play in Spain, but in the entire Spanish-speaking world, and to this day it is considered the chief representative of Spanish Romantic theater and the masterpiece of all Don Juan adaptations.
This new translation of Zorrilla’s classic play is unique in mirroring not only the content, but also the way in which an audience would experience a performance of the most famous of libertines in Spanish. As such, it strives to keep the essence of each stanza intact, while reflecting the rhyme and stress-pattern of the original. Although the exigencies of meter and rhyme entail making some minor concessions when it comes to rendering the content, the way in which the play was written is such a crucial aspect that, without its playful octosyllabic lines, its easy rhymes, and its carefully-studied meter, we cannot speak of Don Juan Tenorio. Intended for a wide variety of readers, the translation is preceded by an introduction in which several key aspects of the play are addressed, and the main text is complemented with footnotes clarifying key passages, or offering additional information about the characters, the time-period, or the literary history of the Don Juan character.
ISBN 978-1-58871-220-2 (HB) $30
ISBN 978-1-58871-225-7 (PB) $25